When I found out I was pregnant with my first child in February, I knew I was beginning a new crazy adventure, but little did I know how “crazy” it actually would be. The day after my first prenatal appointment on March 12, my work, my social life, my world became the yellow house on the corner, just me, my husband, and my baby-to-be. While I have been incredibly fortunate to have a pregnancy with minimal symptoms and to have the ability to work from home (which means I can wear comfy clothes every day and work with my feet up), I know this pregnancy experience is only one that I have in common with a small group of people.
For the first half of my pregnancy, my appointments were either virtual or I had to go alone, my husband facetiming from the parking lot. We revealed the sex of our baby on Zoom with our family, and only a select few has seen my growing belly. Instead of a shower, we have decided to have a one-year birthday party for baby-to-be next year. I have spent countless hours trying to think about how my mother-in-law will be able to come from California to meet our baby without exposing herself and the baby to the virus, and worried my sister, an 8th grade teacher, won’t be able to hold her nephew.
All of this, as I write it, feels trivial in comparison to the seriousness of this virus, the growing death toll, the millions of people out of work and being evicted, the dilemma of how to safely school and socialize our children, etc. But my pregnancy-in-isolation is still a reality that I and a specific group of people in this world are experiencing.
I have been the family support program manager at Illuminate Colorado for close to two years, managing our Circle of Parents program. I have always believed in the importance of social connection and resource sharing, but as a non-parent, I never knew first hand how valuable connecting with other people in similar life experiences can be. Now that I am a parent-to-be, I have found so much support from a Facebook group specifically for pregnant women in Denver during a pandemic, messaging with a couple other friends who are pregnant, attending webinars about labor and parenting and my husband has signed up for a virtual “dad’s boot camp”. We ask each other everything from whether it’s safe to get that prenatal massage I desperately need, which hospitals are allowing doulas, to what it is like to be tested for COVID-19 when arriving at the hospital in labor. No one else except for those who are also pregnant during a pandemic can truly know what this is like for us.
My baby is due in ten weeks and I have no idea what the world will look like then. Will my husband be allowed in the room? Do I have to deliver with a mask on? Will I allow friends and family to meet my son? There’s already so much uncertainty for a new parent, adding the uncertainty of a global pandemic brings a lot of anxiety, but this is the only pregnancy experience I know. And luckily, I’m not alone. I am fortunate to have the connection with my pregnant-during-a-pandemic comrades and in a couple months, new-parents-with-a-newborn-during-a-pandemic buddies.
I always knew that social connections and having people who “get it” is important for parents, but now I know because I am seeking those out for myself.
Find Your Circle
To help parents find support in their lives, Illuminate Colorado is focused on growing Circle of Parents® in Colorado. A wide variety of groups are starting all over Colorado, including groups for parents in recovery, fathers, parents of children with special needs, and Spanish-speaking parents.
Parents and caregivers anywhere in Colorado can also join together online every Wednesday at 5:30 pm.
Visit www.circleofparentsco.org to get more information groups meeting every week. Find your circle.
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